tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 15, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT
our u.s. facilities? >> edges the prevailing wage in mexico. >> the opportunity for corruption i think is the concern i was going to ask about the ratio of management and the agents but i thank you have addressed that. one of the concerns i have is getting these facilities to secure the personnel we were operating under standard of the c design something secretary powell put in place under the obama administration wrote with secretary clinton they've moved to this. tijuana was built under standard embassy design is there a thing wrong with a tijuana facility? is it too ugly? >> but it was it was a
derivative. >> so we spend $668,000 but it is as close as we have but then we have a modified design excellence with moderate at a cost of $900,000 but the two under construction now at one point a million dollars per desk? that is $191 million to build something that $154 million. how you explain that? by the way $154 million if you do that mathis 88 desks how do we afford to do that a round of worldwide is in a massive job of the expense can they go to personnel guard forces? why so much expense?
>> i acknowledge your concern and it is my obligation as a career state department employee meet -- employee that we are serving concerns but over time the security standards in building quality has increased if we adapt to circumstances and it is very hard to look for the building is located what we try to accomplish and put on a desk by desk basis. >> what other metric would you use? >> it takes a more accounting approach to look at the imports. >> that is costing tens of millions of dollars more and is taking a longer time. we will continue a hearing about this is a courageous amounts of money no doubt we need facilities but i do have to ask about the danger
pay. i know which three to ask but, to what mr. cummings said our people working for the state department in mexico, is there any threat of their wages going down? >> thanks for the question. i am very proud of our foreign service calling. >> we're all proud of what is the user? are you going to cut their pay? >> alliances change over time the situations change and yes we have developed a new system to change endanger and hardship pay. in mexico some will go up some will go down but that reflects the stage of the
situation on the ground. the danger pay calculated in the past, the criminal violence and living conditions are also accounted for in the hardship pay so looking at the colleagues at matamoros get a 5% increase but those in tijuana and nuevo laredo go down by 5% but we believe that reflects the accurate situation. >> there is no merit and has authority over a police force there. are you telling me now is more than it has been? >> yes. by our calculations. >> the american foreign service association takes issue with this to you take issue? to read by an american - -
former member. >> they disagree. >> on the basis of conditions that differs substantially in the continental devastates the incentive they disagree with this so in northern mexico it is less secure in matamoros now and more secure in nuevo laredo? >> we believe the situation has changed. >> if you work at nuevo laredo you know, how far you can travel away as an american? >> you don't you stay close by and social life is very rich -- restricted. >> nine square miles. the you can operate the you are allowed to go and you will decrease? >> when they line up to go to the post there recognize
situations may change and allowances may change it is part of the process. we recognize that. >> i just tell you that you have a lot of people on this panel that don't understand that massive amount of violence that is going on and you will decrease their pay? i went down there and - - down there may time as well expired but this is not an acceptable conclusion to your analysis it is an exceptionally difficult place to live by now recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> i will pick up exactly where you left off. how often are the reassessments made with regard to pay allowances?
i. c. mr. starr is jumping up and down to give an answer. >> if i could answer, at least once a year we reviewed the allowances and old post. the danger pay that the chairman is referring to, august 2014 we began a review of how reissue danger pay. we also look at the hardship bollands. that was august 2014. it is a continuing review. the goal is to make sure we have equitable implementation across the entire world program. the global program in many cases are more dangerous than matamoros or nuevo laredo. there are high levels of violence in both places but in our analysis is is very
different that it is not directed against the consulate or personnel all they could be in the wrong place at the wrong time there are other places that relive that they are directed against people and those are the places they get danger paper called for criminal violence that we see in mexico is reflected in the hardship differential and many have gotten increases to reflect the criminal violence. >> would you define hardship ? >> it looks that isolation, pollution, medical condition. >> that nine square-mile limitation is a hardship? >> exactly but i will tell you that the is posted in mexico, our employees can get in a car and an 15 minute speech in the united states to go to school we
half people in places like chad where no such types of outlet exist and in those places they get a higher level if it exists and a higher hardship differential. we are careful how we look at this to make sure the people get the right to allowances for their conditions on the ground. >> i think you'll find this is a bipartisan efforts -- effort to make sure our people were treated fairly and paid adequately but she said a lot of time and they go into these they know what they're going into. i know that sounds simple but when you really want to
serve your government, that is very well baby the you know, what you were going into, but i assume it is part of their job. am i right? >> yes. many foreign service officers that go to these post knows the dangers but they also know the allowances changeover time they could change well they serve or after a day of the. >> mr. starr said you look on a yearly basis of something radical happens is there any type of exception to that general rule of one year? by ayploo'in ay?to y@ pay t he
>> >>. >> as a matter of fact the district there was the spike and crime in february. >> exactly. we looked at them almost daily as we begin to see the cartel and sub groups were beginning to fight the amount. we were plotting every single day with the violence was taking place looking at the location of residents residents, shopping, facilit ies, against where the violence was. we were ready to move people out if it came into our
neighborhoods that we look at those almost daily when the level goes up. >> sova in february it was six times as many incidents compared to the month before >> approximately yes. >> did any of these incidents involve u.s. citizens? >> yes. there were some but not from the consulate but yes. citizens were affected. >> so you talk about how your monitor problems but what else does the state department done to address that increase? >> that is the value of the consulate is most apparent as we monitor the violence we could play a role to the consular offices to warn americans and we put out
warnings and the general was dealing with the governor of the region talking with the police and the ambassador from mexico city pointing out the levels of violence were going up in the government needed to address this quickly and effectively and soon after that, i don't want to say was just a our urging as a government of mexico understood but they put additional force is on the ground to stoneham -- stem the violence. >> of the the sheer firing at the u.s. customs helicopter near laredo. they appear to have come from the mexican side of the border but it does raise concerns about the safety of the federal law-enforcement officers protecting the border. in response to customer and
border patrol is said to armored blackhawk helicopters. is that correct? to make cancer. >> what else has been done to secure the safety of the agents? >> first of all, of a bite to say we have had 122 agents killed since the border virgil was created in 1924 and vhs was created 2003 and since that time we have had 33 officers killed and 29 were border patrol agents so no question it is dangerous work. because read deal with a large population of migrants but mixed with those individuals is some criminal so it is important they stay
under to a blood dash on their toes of a routine basis they look at hotspots orza loans known for high-level activity with those types of situations. >> can you think of anything else congress can do to help protect the brave men and women on our borders? >> we appreciate the support you have given us also with the helicopter shooting incident that the congressman responded it is more to be - - state engaged coupled with the border security efforts to see what was going on firsthand.
>>. >> i just want you to know on behalf of all of us we do understand how dangerous the job is and we appreciate everything you do to address the issues. it is very difficult we're sorry for the losses and the injuries that you spoke about. >> i believe what we need to set the battle security is a long-term battle. we can see what has happened in colombia with the type of improvements made and those are what we have to help mexico make every can talk more effectively with this
with the programs we have in place but continuing those programs that we are currently running in mexico that is what is ultimately going to make this a safer location and a safer country. >> thank you. >> i will point out there is no police force in nuevo laredo. nine. see you can work on training them it is run by the drug cartel. shaver and the state department for cutting the people's pay. that is not the way you build morale. you were given tens of billions of dollars and you cut the poor people stay? you can talk about trading in a local police force but there isn't even one there. >> i will reclaim my time. mr. starr we you please answer with the chairman
just said? i think he makes a good point. >> he is correct to my knowledge a local police force is actually not functioning there. but there are levels of police forces as well. there are police from the state type of police and federal police and soldiers. but while the chairman is correct we do have grave concerns that the mayor was murdered and local police have tremendous difficulties , we also work with federal and state authorities to make sure other types of security services are as effective as they can be. >> and ask unanimous consent to enter the united states department of state mexico 2015 cry report of nuevo laredo into the record. >> without objection.
>> mr. chairman thank you for holding this hearing. first of all,, of this situation is getting worse the violence is just as bad in mexico as it has been? >> at ebbs and flows. >> is certain places it is better than three years ago in certain places is worse. >> ambassador moser? >> i would point out i am not an expert on this but. >> overall it is not much better. >> there are ebbs and flows there are some areas that are safer now than before. >> but overall it is pretty violent.
>> yes. >> same assessment? >> i would say we are cautiously optimistic it is somewhat better in certain parts and that is reflected in the danger page changes and greasy parts of the country that are insurgency status that are operating on a lot better now. >> but some places are worse >> similar response. it depends on the area i travel to mexico personal and professional some areas you travel with security and some you don't but overall dangerous place no question. >> i have read all the testimony i think every member of congress should read yours. with the chair in the drug
policy 98 through 2000 we had information at that time from the president's office of corruption that was prevalent and unfortunately it is pretty much the same situation we have today but there are reports details it very well but what is startling is the number in 2014, you outlined a number of criminals convicted you cite those increase the number of aliens coming across now we're better able to detect them but the numbers are astounding because to put into perspective the border patrol apprehended just under 500,000 illegal immigrants meeting one out of every five for best was
criminal? >> from the research we have done. >> so that is absolutely astounding simple math is probably 100,000 criminal aliens entering the united states. basically it is out of control. and you said what can they do to improve? you said there has to be consequences but there are not i was stunned to find out that mexico and how many agents to be have it in phoenix? >> non. >> there has to be consequences. how many consulate's do we have? >> i think we should close everyone immediately and put
the property up for sale. you have to have consequences for actions. the place is out-of-control. i just read the helicopter shooting at a u.s. helicopter, and i didn't know that they actually shot down a mexican helicopter the month before? correct? >> yes. >> most troubling you have heard with the missionaries were shot yesterday. 43 kids were turned over by local authorities and shot or killed then the bodies burned or destroyed. this week i guess there is no whitewash report what
took place and one of the leaders was found dead two weeks ago. he was interviewed by cnn and said that more than 100 bodies had been found hidden in graves showing a worsening security situation so it doesn't sound like it is getting much better they're killing the people that are trying to do something about the injustice that is going on in the mexico. >> yes. and the scariest part of all the violence is how it extended out to the interior of the united states we had a young man shot in the back presumed illegal alien from the country of el salvador as part of a gang. we just had a u.s. citizen
in san francisco just killed. we're not only seeing violence on the border but extending into the united states and that is scary. >> i read illegal marijuana still coming from mexico but congratulations. we just passed and i saw the report our young students students, more are now hooked on marijuana and cigarettes. congratulations. >> thanks to all the catalyst for having this important hearing and haiti is right on the head it is not only all of the border but a news reporter and her
cameraman were shot to come a police officer putting gas in his car were shot, a woman from illinois with shot, in the incidents that you mention and as mr. starr said it is a long effort on the border and it is out of control. i would like 2.0 that the shooting is coming from guns manufactured and slipped over the border into mexico. in fact, they have the most restrictive gun laws in the entire world yet it has seen a tremendous surge in drug-related violence. just yesterday the chairman and shared with me this letter sent to him from mexico and in it he says the etf found over 70 percent of
the guns recovered in mexico in 2014 were sourced from the united states. that is a shocking statistic. 70% of the guns came from america. and he further rights '' congress can play a very important role to combat the transborder criminal organizations and the flow of the illegal firearms by enacting proper legislation ''. i ask permission to put this letter into the record. >> without objection. >> we are trying to do just that and earlier today the ranking member comings and others introduced legislation to make it a felony to deal with illegal
guns it is not even a felony to traffic with illegal guns. i would say how dumb can you be? we should make that a felony today. and also the penalties that we have heard from "fast & furious", they don't even bother to address traffickers or the straw purchasers those who purchase them for others better known criminals or drug dealers are getting leaders because there is no penalty it is the paper penalties a little ways their time. they have pled with us to give them the tools to do the job. today we are introducing this bill to increase penalties for the straw purchasers to be trafficking with illegal guns a felony. now in mexico, to make a
purchase in a gun store, they all they have one in the whole country. but to make a purchase they are required by law the store is operated by the army, pass a background check, identification, a metal detector a cellphone just to enter the building. then they are fingerprinted and photographed then permitted to buy a single weapon and a box of initiative required to take it home to put it under lock and key. they have strong laws but the obvious question is where are they coming from? the united states. and bin your testimony you said the u.s.-mexican border the primary threats is done smuggling northbound drug trafficking and human trafficking in illegal immigration and violence
associated with them. could you elaborate on the southbound the smuggling? >> i will answer that in two parts like what is my role at the strategic level as the also have mentioned for the first time ever raid have identified across the border the top criminal organizations involved in the full gamut of activities but this is a shoot accomplishment never before seen before they all have case is that they work but for the first time ever we have interagency agreement which top criminal organizations we believe are the highest threat to u.s.
national security. some of those are involved with the southbound weapons smuggling but our success to target them has been on the domestic side but the new position gives me a capability to target them for origination to final destination. >> how many do you think are being trafficked into mexico each year? >> the second part of my answer will respond to that. ebro and expert at port of entry and will have to differ to my counterpart but from my former capacity we retain the ottman to southbound inspections with detailed border patrol agents by and large our success is due to the vigilance and capabilities of agents as we do have the
same technology going south that we have going north plus we don't do 100% inspections we do operations based on intelligence and investigative information and but largely they are cold hits a would be helpful to have similar technology going southbound with non intrusive that is very instrumental to give us the better picture of what type of weapons are going south. >> much time is expired but obviously part of controlling the crime in america and at the border is controlling the sale of illegal gun trafficking will and a purchase. >> the gentleman from texas. >> before i get started
pointing out for more gun laws in the united states but mexico has the strictest gun laws of high violence that just makes the point that restrictive gun laws make -- take the hands out of law-abiding citizens. >> will you yield? >> i don't have much time but i will let the and. if i can. but in his visit to the radio after the helicopter was shot at and the opportunity to visit with border patrol agents, but quickly did he talk to the people who shot at the helicopter? the government? >> the fbi is responsible for investigating all assaults on federal agents. they are in charge of that to my editor standing in individual was taken into custody and transported where he went before a of a
are all very upset about the priority enforcement program which i have to say that they refused to take illegal aliens that they apprehend for deportation. so i will start with you. can you talk about this, was my characterization about this accurate? >> well, i think they you could have expressed a much greater level of frustration. but i would like to point out on the northern border there was an arrest made of an illegal alien in a sector. we took this individual into custody and we immediately released individual on the street and within weeks that individual went up to great falls, montana and raped a 14-year-old girl. and we had this individual in our custody.
we had the authority to move this individual from this country and we couldn't do it. that individual went and raped a 14-year-old girl and her life will never be the same. >> and we see this again and again with the tragic murder of kate, the shooting of the border patrol agents in the rio grande valley. they had been deported about seven times. and i think it was in the past couple of days a convicted burglar they actually spent the bulk of the last 30 years in various jails. and it just seems critical that we get the border security. no point working on immigration before we get that done. so can you talk about priority enforcement and have you heard from the sheriff as well as the
concerns and basically have nothing to do with them but to turn them loose? we just defunded sanctuary city. but with the border patrol, not taking this, we basically created a century country, haven't we remap. >> i will answer that question in two parts. the first was noted in my testimony, i have been in the border patrol when we made it to 1.6 million apprehensions per year with about 3000 agents on duty. most of those individuals were very easy to deal with and it was the top of the situation as the individual had indicated earlier and the border dynamics have changed over my career from what it was, about 42% of everybody that we apprehend is from a noncontiguous territory.
most of those being from central america and so it is a different kind of dynamic on how we deal with those individuals and about 33% has to go before some kind of an immigration judge or procedure. so the border patrol does not own all of the process necessary, nor am i seeking that ownership, but it does not own all of the process that would allow for immediate repatriation of those individuals. the second part of my aunts again is what my job is really to target the criminal network from beginning to end and that does not necessarily mean that we are targeting criminal aliens throughout the united states as part of my job, but i will just give you one example. i think that i.c.e. fugitive operations does a good job of picking up criminal aliens. when i stepped in this job they had done a press event where they had arrested about 2000 criminal aliens throughout the
country. >> so you're saying that it would be easier and folks were facing consequences. would that be a better situation to because i am out of time. >> yes. >> are you with us on this? >> excuse me, sir? >> do you think it would be better if we had some consequences? >> i think that every officer, regardless of taking an action, they want to see a consequence delivered. but it's a little bit warm challenging. >> i apologize for not being able to yield to the gentle lady from new york? we now recognize the gentlewoman from the district of columbia. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. this discussion about undocumented criminals and violence on the border raises
the question for me of the role that we play with respect to security, particularly in northern mexico. as i understand it, the security agency and law enforcement agency has coordinated or facilitated customs and border patrol protection and drug enforcement agency immigration and customs enforcement. is this part of the place where these agencies would be stationed? >> ma'am, i cannot say that every one of those agencies are part of that, bureaucrats but
they do serve as a base for the operations and for those types of operations along with the embassy. >> what i am trying to get at is we are thinking about this and the rest and we are talking about violence and undocumented criminals and the rest, i'm trying to get up what we are doing on the ground. and what they play. the united states has widely tried to involve itself in the form of the criminal justice system in mexico itself. and that includes organized crime, which is always at the top of our agenda and i would
like to ask you in that regard about the so-called initiative. which as i understand it is charged with disrupting criminal organizations, strengthening judicial institutions in mexico and improving stability in the surrounding community. does that sound like what you're initiative is about? >> yes, thank you for bringing that up because i really appreciate you mentioning that, what we are talking about is this initiative. we have been working with mexico
since 2008. we have invested about $1.4 billion and trying to improve the security situation by working at the federal and state and local levels. we actually have seen areas where we have made progress and we think that a lot of the progress is because of our presence on the ground. and law enforcement officials and military officials can work with our mexican counterparts to give them advice and lend assistance when they need it, to provide training. it is because of the funding by congress that we are grateful order where we have actually been able to help with what they are seeking.
>> i think that it would be tragic not to have our colleagues in mexico. they work very well every day on a daily basis on the country. >> is the consulate where they are based to . >> it's where our officials were working locally. and i think that it would be detrimental. >> not only are we providing from the security of american officials, but we can also work with local authorities and as i said to help them build their institutions and help the mexican government achieve what they are seeking to do. our colleagues are working all over the country with the mexican government and we are
trying to help them achieve their goals. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we now recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. earlier in your remarks come you say environments such as this involve constantly shifting planning and diplomacy. he went on to say that this is simply not enough to improve physical security and we are also explaining how to better respond and the environment. since 2008 the state department has had a plan to build a diplomatic security and included in that has been the infrastructure and the personnel. but on the has come out with reports on this and during those studies that they have come out
with, the report has not been released. i have seen it before. my staff has seen it before. both of those cite a lack of cooperation in trying to come up with proposals for this facility to be built. so can you tell me on a facility that is this important by the state department would be uncooperative in addressing this. can you tell me why the federal law enforcement training center was only given 60 days to respond to this. don't you think taxpayers of this country deserve to know apples and apples what is going to be the best facility and what are we going to get the most from our taxpayer dollars there.
would you agree with that? >> yes, sir, i would. i believe that it's clear that spending money on something that doesn't meet our requirements is not going to be a good investment. in previous hearings in previous discussions they could not take our entire program and that includes a live munition bombing range. >> if i could -- >> we believe that -- when you talk about the curriculum
requirement, all of them, and i quote here, this is only in the minds of the structure and how can we get the price on the curriculum when it's only in the minds of the instructors. >> this is not just in their mind. >> sir, i cannot -- >> i have seen the report. sir, i have seen the report. the omb report. i have found nothing in there whatsoever. there were six comparisons. two of them were easy and one of them, can you tell me why that
is not being released? >> it is a preliminary study. >> why is it not being released? >> i do not know. that is an omb report. i can tell you that it does not reflect that. it has not been released yet and i think that that is probably something we need to talk about, we need to wait until it's released. >> attacking the lives of foreign service members, training is all-important. and we say that we have spent too much money and what is not easy to do something about it but to learn from it and to have an apples to apples comparison. we need to go back and compare the sides fairly. if you are right, i will be the first one in line to support you in that.
the state department has made up their mind and they are not going to change their mind, it can only be built in washington dc because after all that is the only way can never work. and this is not right. we need to go back. we need to make an apples to apples comparison. if we say that we don't learn from it and we don't do something about the future than we are all at fault i yield the rest of my time. >> we now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> i think the witnesses for coming today, this is an important discussion we are having and we have a level of violence connected with the
border and the level of criminals that we are seeing at the border. but really the chairman called it in large measure to talk about whether we should close those three consulates that we discussed and my colleague is calling for the closure of all non-consulates in mexico. what i did not get from you was the nexus between that discussion in the discussion of the level of violence that you have been talking about and so how does it cut, starting with you, how would closing these consulates that the chairman is talking about, how would that cut on the violent situation there.
>> i will just say that in terms of my business our relationship with mexico and our ability to protect and promote u.s. interests is critically important to border security. i routinely travel to mexico and work with the state department and all of the country team in mexico city and so having our people deployed in a way that we can best protect and promote the interest of the united states is critically important. >> when i came to testify, i was testifying on the u.s. personal space. as far as this goes, i have no idea how to do that, all i know is that i can to you that i am an expert in border security with how we can effectively secure the border and that is
what i'm trying to give testimony on. >> okay, it's a separate discussion that you gentlemen are giving us. i appreciate your coming and those are sobering comments that both of you gave us. in february of this year, in fact, right at the time of the spike of the violence, i spent some time with my dear friend and colleague in south texas and we were right across the border at the time in february and i met with individuals who worked tirelessly to ensure that the border is secure and that
includes import important with how our trade relationship is. the u.s. is part of the foreign investing. an export $3.4 million of goods to mexico every year and that accounts for 246,409 pennsylvania jobs. so this is a subject of interest to me. i learned about the role of the factories and the mexican workers assembling products before companies, most are u.s. owned and subsidiaries employ american managers and engineers, many who work as managers, middle managers by day and then come back over the border to places like texas where they
live. our working relationship with mexico is enormously important to our economic security. >> 80% of that is crossing the us-mexico land border. so how the u.s. consulate facilitate our trade relations. >> also when promoting the trade and the businesses that go back and forth, we showed this very close trade relationship that has gotten deeper in the last 20 years and i have to say that i
think besides providing daily contact with the american companies there, the consulate support business documents that need to be signed and notarized, they need to help move across the border, they will work with them to help facilitate making trade more efficient on a daily basis. the consulates are very active in working with that and it's my understanding that the business community is very supportive of an active presence by the consulate. >> thank you, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> we now recognize the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and so on the mexican side, in
el paso, where that is. we represent all of the texas border. this is something that we engage in on a weekly basis and i don't have much time. my first question to you, i'm going to try to keep our talk tight. we spent a lot of time talking about the danger on the border. and i know one of the challenges that i hear about a lot is the lack of manpower in those locations and so if you can keep that answer tight, that would be great. >> without the manpower on the border.
>> when you have areas like this where the living conditions are absolutely horrendous, it's nearly impossible to seek agents in that area. it was interesting a couple of years ago they took away the designation. >> you are reading my mind. my understanding that some of these locations have changed and i have seen a disproportionate share of those that are transferring out. part of it was an effort to save money. is the union open to some form of solution that would open up eligibility or preference if they spend a certain amount of time there enact. >> we have been pushing for that and unfortunately they haven't reciprocated. >> i think that we will have someone conversations on that. ambassador, i want to thank you and your organizations and their predecessors for what you do. i spent nine years as an
undercover officer in the cia and i've been to dangerous places like pakistan and afghanistan and i've been in embassies that have been bombed, those that have been shot up, with thousands of people that have marched on it and because of the organizations, so i appreciate that and what you do and my only real concern is the cost of some of these universities, texas a&m university built a stadium for about $450,000. we can rely on it there. but one of the problems that i actually have and i appreciate that you all do with a travel advisory in mexico, the only advisory by state. as i think that that shows the important relationship that we have in mexico. i know mr. judd and his colleagues are working hard every day. and we can facilitate the
movement of goods and services at the same time. >> murder capital of the world, have as many murders as detroit and new orleans. okay not only that, but this city as well, more murders now than there were in baltimore. my concern is when you talk about mexico being a big plays. when you break that down, it's about 20 out of 100. and i'm just looking to work with you guys, the traveler visors and some of these cities that are reflective on into the
ground. and we are working on being able to ensure that those values are reflective of those communities. and so what is good for them is good for both countries. and, you know, that is part of it. >> thank you, congressman. specifically to that comment, the warnings that we work with from the councils and the city councils that we have, looking specifically at the areas, the warning sheets are countrywide, but they are also pose security bulletins that come out and i think this is one of the arguments as to why we have this in different places. citizens can go to that website
for each individual area. and i will take your concerns back with me. >> i'm already over time, i apologize. please communicate to the members of foreign service. they are sometimes overlooked. they are working hard every single day to export this around the world and they do it in tough places and i recognize that. i have the honor of serving side-by-side with many of them. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> we now recognize the gentleman for five minutes? thank you, mr. chair.
everyone here would agree that the violent crime that takes place in some places, taking into consideration what my colleague just said. >> cannot be ignored. and so and 70% originated in the united states. [inaudible] do you believe that this is a serious problem? >> yes, ma'am, i do. i think that our men and women do a great job with the
personnel who are oftentimes augmented to assist with that effort and the firms that are seized without the aid of intelligence or investigative information are largely due to the hard work of the men and women, however we do not have the same level of tech knowledge he and inspection capabilities going southbound as we have going northbound. and i think that if we would have some similar technology. [inaudible] >> this includes stemming the flow of weapons and i quote that
between texas and arizona alone we have 12,000 gunshots along that border with mexico and a lot of these gunshots provide weapons into organized crime in mexico. so we really need to support the united states. do you agree with that that they are contributing to some parts of mexico? >> thank you, congresswoman. i think the problem of violence in mexico is a problem that we share with mexico. we share a common border and many issues. they are multifaceted and the mexicans have to deal with their problems.
>> you know, i feel that this bill would close a loophole and would help with the issue. so i think you and i yield back. >> i would like to make a note that from homeland security customs and border patrol, this is the number of seizures of guns in 2015. so some 8200 traces, i want to be careful because u.s. source under the definition provided by the atf, it's illegal
and so we have to get those documents, we still don't have those documents. so for people to say that we are worried about the guns that are going back and forth, and so that is one of the most outrageous things to happen so thank you, everyone. i now recognize the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. >> we appreciate your passion on this issue.
>> so is that possible to duplicate these cards, because i have a part here as well and it is a card that i use here and sometimes i will use it to vote. it cannot be duplicated? >> serve, they have features that make it difficult to do a photo substitution or duplicate them. the other thing that is important is anyone who is trying to do illegal activity would not want to use one of those because everyone is registered a comically as a stolen card so that it automatically rings a bell and these people are going to be doubly inspected. so we have a high degree of confidence that the cards that were stolen, the majority have been recovered.
and so if we go on record saying that those are 100% inoperable, that they would not be used by someone trying to smuggle human beings, is that fair to say? >> i would think that nobody was in the smuggling business that is going to try to illegally cross the border would want to use one of those cars that is entered as stolen. but that would raise the profile. what they would really want is to steal a card that has not been declared stolen it has the similarity on into the person. but even the biometrics are not going to be the same.
>> these cards once they have been deactivated. >> i think that people do use them for other purposes. the photograph doesn't match and it's hard to do that without destroying the car, it would be very difficult. >> you have any ideas about that? >> no, i don't work at the port of entry. for me it would be difficult if somebody took my card and i encountered them, there's no way for me to run through the checks. >> turn off, i'm satisfied with that answer. moving forward have we
solidified this mistake is now moving forward, that this won't happen again, is that something we have looked at as to how that is working to begin with? >> i visited a transit facility, there had been a hard look at how we were moving those cards and we have made some changes in how they are delivered and we are now only, i would prefer not to speak about some of the ways that we have made some of the changes, but we did look closely at it. but we are taking additional measures to try to ensure that this doesn't occur again. >> i appreciate you doing this.
human trafficking in my state, north carolina, number nine in the country, we were able to pass training for border security and this is now a law, this is now technologically advanced than our own research here. we are showing the this has been kind of assimilated. and with that we yield back. >> how many are there in circulation. do you have any idea? >> millions. >> okay, so the idea is that mexican nationals can get a border crossing card that is valid for 24 hours in the united
states. >> there are distances than they can go within a certain state with other limitations. and there are millions of them. and how many are on the in part? >> all of them. >> okay, so we have statistics about who is coming into the united states, but we have zero on the rest. what is the consequence of being taught with just a border crossing? nonaudit. >> we give out millions of passes and we have no exit program. we have no way of verifying and there's no consequences to do it
profound with a young man being gunned down in a daycare parking lot when his wife went to pick up their child. one hundred shots being fired in the early evening in another part of the town and then the following morning in front of the high school at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, granted it was a saturday. and the u.s. and mexico have talked about this initiative which according to the state department initiative to disrupt criminal organizations, strengthened judicial institutions, improve order
infrastructure and stability in the community. they had this initiative and i wish that we had our own initiative like that. when i see the lack of appropriations and the lack of support i'm getting for my colleagues, it makes me question if any that is going to happen. and so i degrasse and i will get back on topic to what i was supposed to be talking about. and i was fortunate to go to mexico in may and that will stem the tide and individuals coming
undocumented into this country and also the amount of work and cooperation that is done in agriculture as well in places between mexico and the united states. the amount of trade and consumer goods and commerce is happening in this area. we went and visited the site where the embassy was supposed to be and i understand that there were a lot of consulates in this area because of commerce and trade along with individuals that go on. and so i wanted to ask and i think that the three consulates near the border, they have all of recently been completed in 2008, 2011 and 2015.
and so all of these three consulates beat security standards. >> ma'am, i cannot build a building. >> did they meet your approval enact. >> yes, they do. >> okay, there's another that is currently under construction that is estimated to be completed in 2017. is that accurate? >> yes. and then the consulate and the embassy are also supposed to be under construction. >> yes, that is correct. >> the four remaining consulates are there as well. >> yes, that is correct. >> as for the completion, when we travel to mexico's eddie, we were told that it was estimated to be completed in 2019 and they estimated the finish in 2020.
are those timelines still in place? >> yes. >> and they do depend somewhat on mexico city's case when we will receive this. >> as i recall it was for a portion of that embassy. >> for a very small portion. >> and we have an idea when they will have that? >> we are working with with our cellar in order to obtain this, and we are working currently on a timeline for the delivery of that and we expect it to be sometime in the fall of 2016. >> can you explain how the state is responding to the delays aside from just working with that? >> if you mean how we are responding, a we will look for 10 years, over a decade at 20
different sites and mexico city to find one that would meet our robust and diplomatic hearing. when we finally identified the short couple mile distance from our current location, we realize that this would actually the fillet from providing an effective platform for law enforcement agencies to her traditional diplomatic activities to providing space for a benjamin franklin library, which is very important for our public diplomacy outreach. there have been delays in acquiring this, but we feel within this timeline that this is sufficient for us to build a building from the time that we get it up and operational and
that is a part of it. >> when i talked to people, one of the main reason this is such a great site is the ability to buy land from multiple sellers which is almost impossible. >> it would have been possible to find this if we wanted to be well outside of mexico city. but to the extent that we need to engage with our colleagues in the mexican government and in businesses, we need to be in an urban location where it mirrors our present platform. >> thank you so much. i have exhausted my time and i thank you for your generosity. >> we now recognize the
gentleman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me begin with you. is it your understanding, and i know that you said you don't work at the ports of entry. is it your understanding that these cards can be used by individuals illegally to get into the country? >> if somebody is not properly looking for inspecting for the person is and you present your card and they don't look at you and they pass it through, absolutely. but the cards really are very difficult to duplicate. but if you have someone else's card they could get into the united states. >> is there any evidence of that has ever happened enact. >> not to my knowledge, sir, no. >>kay, so you would say that no one has ever entered this
country with a stolen card? >> that would be very hard to say absolutely. it would be very difficult. >> yes, it would. because from what i have understood that has happened, many times they don't check the cards properly and there are occasions where is the chairman brought up earlier, how often do they just go into the country? >> i can only tell you that i spent about three hours at the border crossing with the homeland security personnel that were there. i saw a dedicated group of people with duplicative stops and i can't tell you but i have to tell you that i was exceptionally impressed with how
good they were. >> did they know that you are there? >> yes, they did. and that probably has something to do with it. so is it true that they were only able to read the cards about two thirds of the time? >> i'm sorry, sir. i don't know. >> is it my understanding that the cards don't always work properly. so my question is ultimately coming from if the cards don't work properly, the stolen cards could still be used. i noticed that you are nodding your head. >> it was an accident. i'm not a port of entry expert but i will refer to what i'm focused on which is targeting the criminal network and i will tell you are investigative means that we are getting much better
at identifying and rooting out the individuals who are able to do this for criminal purposes. we have identified a starting point in south texas a little bit less than a thousand individuals, probably about half our border crossers and we are systematically removing the cards from those individuals when they cross the border. so i think that the technology that you have supported us with, we are better to identify the people they're using that are using them for illicit purposes versus for legitimate reasons. >> okay, so none of you have any awareness if this isn't working? >> no, sir, i'm not aware if they are not working. i think we have a high degree and a high success rate with that card. >> you have any idea how many u.s. citizens have disappeared
and been kidnapped, abducted? >> i do not have the figures in front of me, now. >> if you're talking about u.s. citizens, we believe that they had a total case of 146 kidnappings reported and in this year we have had 64 cases reported. >> what about other crimes? >> other crimes are also down and in terms of violent crimes we look at murder cases where you have about 100 murder cases and this year we are counting 89 so far. >> is it any evidence of americans being targeted? >> not to my knowledge, no.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i would just like to add that i have put forth a lot of the crimes committed in montana,. [inaudible] i have put forth a track, specifically the sex offenders and i ask my colleagues to check that out. >> thank you. and we don't have the proper panelist to deal with this to lead on to follow up with what you said, but one of the most infuriating parts of this are the people that are here illegally that commit crimes only to be released back into the interior of the united states of america. the obama administration released roughly 66,000 criminal aliens and according to
enforcement removal operations, there are 925,000 people with spinal orders to be removed from the country and they have not been removed. there are people here illegally and then those that are here legally and they commit a crime. so to not focus on those people and make sure that they leave the country, and then when they do to find out that a huge percentage of them get picked up and come across the border again, how do you look people in the eye and say 925,000 people are here legally. and then you add the number of other criminals. they are in opposition and they were caught and convicted. and we say, go ahead.
and we have horrific stories in just about every state you can think of and it's just horrendous. so we are now pleased to recognize the gentleman who lives in texas. very dedicated on this issue and we appreciate him. we now recognize him for five minutes. >> gentlemen, thank you so much. we thank the ranking member also and we want to thank the gentleman from the state department. with the pleasure to see you with all of the good work that you did down there. all of the men and women that work for border patrol and all of that, they do a good job and so he and i and we go back every
weekend, back to the border, i want to thank you for all the work that you all do. again, you know that there are a couple of issues. talking about danger pay for the folks at the state department, i think we need to talk about it. i think that that is something that i think congress will be involved with. my understanding is that you already let your employees know that i can tell you that congress will probably have a say-so on this, not that we want to micromanage but i think that it's part of the appropriations process that will be involved. the issue and cost of
construction. i've been to the one in mexico, i understand what they are doing in other parts of the world. i think that the cost of consumption is extremely high. sometimes i think they charge us more. i understand the arguments about security. but i still think that they are low crime. on the issues, i think that we definitely disagree on that. so let me just try to address, if you will allow me a few minutes beyond that. let me talk about the border and i want to go into mexico.
and you name them. if you look at the top 10 cities with the highest murder rates, none of them are on the border. none of them are in order. if you look at one of the ngos to look at the top 50 cities with the highest homicides, this is from the year 2000 11 through 2014. and then you go on. st. louis was number 19 and then the numbers have gone down.
>> >> that will soon be the ambassador, and a great ambassador to mexico we rate given $36 million per year but we give 3.$1 billion per year to israel and here is mexico that is one of our greatest trading partner san you highlighted some of the numbers but talking about laredo i am sorry i was a year when you hear bit
channels about 12,000 trailers per day. if you light up the trucks up and down the border of the trucks one day would go from laredo to a little south of san antonio. on a monthly basis just through the radio it would go to bolivia. and in one year almost wraparound of the world twice. that half a trillion dollars of trade we have every day shows why mexico is so important for us have by the way for those who want to push away if the import comes in from china it has 4% pards if it comes from canada and has 25% but if it
comes from mexico a 40 percent american parts so low that shows the connection that we have with mexican trade. going into immigration we spoke about that last year we have seen in the numbers that have gone down chairman again we can add more border patrol but if you look is something that has happened to i'll we said we can play defense on the 1 yard line but we spend $80 billion for border security across the nation if we play a little defense with the appropriations we added $80 million to help mexico
shapira of the border with guatemala if you look mexico apprehended more migrants so border patrol would have dealt with those. so i do understand we do have issues but we need to work with them i agree i think the destruction caused are a little high but said danger pay mr. chairman i want to talk with you where i believe they do deserve danger pay and to all the witnesses take you for all
the good work that you do. >> we now recognize a gentleman from wisconsin. >> i was at another hearing a whole but a repeat questions. i know we're highlighting mexico and just review rica of murder rates mexico is by far from the most violent there is jamaica or else of a door that has twice the rate or honduras which is four times. but it is a high rate did is over four times i think four times the american rate i wonder if you can comment on the differences in some cities compared to others and rarity think it is right now particularly dangerous in these cities with higher rates themselves?
>> i think the embassy in mexico city and the different agencies represented their closely follow where we have narco trafficking drugs violence that fuels a lot of the murder rates but 25 million americans visited mexico every single year very few of those have any type of problem with tourism is the big business we are aware of the drug cartel mower a split in the organization in the violence can spike but we do try to differentiate between where it goes that
it is reflected in tried to be accurate of the real threat to give them an idea but if it is until level that is in different cities primarily with the drug traffickers are contesting territory. >> do we have a facility in of acapulco? >> we have a agent but not an agency. >> that looks to be a very dangerous city but that is one just pulling that up i think the murder rate deuce three times that it is not a very well-run city led to
feel our people are safe in a city like that? >> we provide guidance with our advisory for aqaba localize not sure where it is right now but we typically advise people to stay off the streets at night if widow of a particular violence we will issue a warning we think it is manageable we do have to monitor this situation than the risk to take measures to mitigate those risks. >>. >> the fall of the americans how many have crime over the last year? director dale hundred employees i am not sure but
pledged it is minimal am not sure we have a good hand right now. >> i think over 2010 we had to americans that were killed since the nuevo laredo. >> to americans have been killed. >> out of 3,000 employees to murders of the last 30 years is what you are saying? okay. thank you. >> i yield the the rest of my time. >> du type of questions we will be done here. ambassador, in mexico city in the new embassy recognize it is behind schedule 11,305 tasks the cost when from the original estimate of 577
millions up at 943 million. any adjustments or are those still the numbers are working with? >> they are correct but the original figure of that we initially reported did not include the acquisition cost. so the real difference is 701st is 900 that is the 40% growth that is reflected >> every time we spend dollars recall when he added american people's pockets so the concern is you have a $200 million growth by roughly just shy of $250 million for building at of the facilities located in nuevo laredo that is a lot of dollars going out the
door when you consider matamoros is looking at 103 desks and nuevo laredo is 88? a quarter of a billion dollars? >> plan also very concerned of the cost and we're always focused on the cost but it is true that it does take more monday per desk to build a smaller facility than a large one because at the first point of all of this is what you have to do it is easier to expand a building to make it bigger. >> the same country in monterey 100 semi dash 199 desks but matamoros is 191 million. >> but it depends on the requirements civet cat you gave any situation where the
cost is gone back? >> yes. there are places it is and expenses. >> where did the cost go down under budget or on budget? >> i have to get back to. >> exactly. the reason we will continue to focus on this is every single state we have done every one of these facilities has gone up bin cost. everyone and they're not even close. the state department came up with that estimate now we see the double digit percentage growth by the billions of dollars. by the billions we are trying to wrap this up but in nuevo laredo and went to visit the site beautiful like to understand the location sarah the proximity to laredo and i get it i do
believe they need a new facility. i can understand. but there ruth living quarters that were potential living quarters of the consulate general the recommendation from the people on the ground was to keep the facility but yet they said no. and they destroyed it. i have questions why was it destroyed and have you figured out and determine where the consulate's general will live in nuevo laredo? >> that is a good one of the inquiry. in that instance of the less than 5 acres it in order to situate the building on the site with all the required requirements that we had to have according to the
standards for overseas we had to demolish that that was on the spot so where will that person go he will take an appropriate housing for the principal officer. >> here is the concern the cost is grown, under construction is a smaller facility that consul general with his or her ability to conduct work is pivotal but yet here we are september september 2015 and you haven't figured out where he will live it is an important question. >> he does have a residence now. >> understood. of the old property but he did travel with 30 armed guards to escort from one facility to the next the mexican national are really does in a convoy with rather
large guns ready to go any moment it is a very dangerous situation. i don't understand why we're this far into which because there will be a cost. when we look at $154 million that doesn't include the site acquisition and/or development for the consulate general? >> no, sir that doesn't. >> have you informed congress? >> we shall be assigned a principal officers from our account bin and we do have a dialogue with the appropriators how much this will cost. >> is amazing you get down there to see there is no plan but that you say you will continue to look at it to suggest after 10 years to
find death is a list t -- a facility that is an embarrassment. tenures? to find a big enough site to put a facility that accomplishes the diplomatic goals? by the mexican government is so toxic you cannot build their hundreds of people will suffer and live in an adequate working quarters, then i want to try to wrap up. >> when will the new danger pay be implemented? has that been announced? >> has. >> the announcements went out last week. >> congressmen and i appreciate how you are concerned about the danger
paperboy can have staff work with your staff to explain how we do this if it is helpful. >> we tried that in a classified setting in didn't go so well. did it? >> no sir. >> you space would bring this up this isn't news. >> but if we could show you a detailed of how they look at each post. >> dallas-fort to save that for those men and women who worked in mexico who have loved ones here in the united states or whoever is working in mexico the pay just got cut look at field on the administration are secretary kerry or that organization because it wasn't us republicans don't telesphere tight on budget. >> it is not about cutting
benefits. >> bay got that cut. >> are there people in mexico hurting less? >> that's the problem. >> with nuevo laredo can they walked outside the consulate? >> but they could be across the border to be a dairy queen very quickly i can wait to tell them that. >> i walked that ground and then look at our security every single day no one is more concerned with the securities and people than i am. >> i do not agree with you. don't get tighter high horse because you just cut their pay. when i went down there i didn't know this was an issue they a broad eppley sat them down in your room
is it safe. write-off to the people who were there working in the facility it is so dangerous they cannot go outside. >> i start every single day looking at the threats to our people worldwide. >> you were getting mexico from. >> we will bring them up volume one. >> i have been there i looked at those statistics you cut their pay and i think it is wrong and people of both sides of the aisle think it is wrong. it was not useful or productive it cut morale is a necessary and i think it should be changed. i really do. it is it for lack of appropriation of management of the state department that is the question we will continue to work on that there are a lot of other issues we have to invade edge with meaningful immigration reform with the
lawful way to get your we need to work on asylum reform actually have a bill but in conclusion i cannot think the border patrol for all the hard work that they do i have been down there it was a joy to go out with them as we chase people coming across you can watch them all day long coming across and they apprehend them in a very professional manner it is very hard and dangerous work i cannot thank them enough for customs and border control. ice is doing important work all across the board but my point is those people working in the state department also have a vital mission it is unacceptable